CWD and Elk - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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CWD and Elk

Just throwing this out there.
CWD is getting closer to the PA elk herd and I believe it's just a matter of time. Once this disease starts to show up in the elk herd what do you think the PGC plan will be? Increase hunt tags, kill the elk off in the specific area where found or elimination of the herd all together? It's a darn shame. Even in my old age I might live to see some action taken on this.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 01:32 PM
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I've been wondering the same thing. The way the Elk heard up in large groups and then disperse during the rut, I would think it would spread a lot faster within the Elk range and then surrounding areas. With an inability to introduce new genetics into the area due to possibly introducing CWD, the Elk heard in PA will end up inbred anyhow. I would imagine it's already happening??

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by outlook214 View Post
I've been wondering the same thing. The way the Elk heard up in large groups and then disperse during the rut, I would think it would spread a lot faster within the Elk range and then surrounding areas. With an inability to introduce new genetics into the area due to possibly introducing CWD, the Elk heard in PA will end up inbred anyhow. I would imagine it's already happening??

Here is an article on that very subject from a couple of years ago.

Is it time to introduce diversity into Pennsylvania’s elk herd?

That’s a question some within the state’s Game Commission are asking. The history of the herd and its recent health are the reasons.

Native to Pennsylvania, elk disappeared by the 1870s, victims of unregulated hunting. They remained missing from the state’s wildlife scene until 1913.

That year, elk were reintroduced from two sources. Fifty came via train from Yellowstone in Wyoming. Another 22 were delivered from a preserve in Montour County.

All of the state’s wild elk today are descendants of those populations.

“So it’s a pretty limited gene pool,” said commissioner Jim Daley of Butler County.

There’s a fear that’s starting to show. Speaking at a meeting of commissioners this past week, board president Brian Hoover of Delaware County said elk reproductive rates have declined recently.

Perhaps, he suggested, adding new genetics would solve that.

“Would that not help the herd itself to expand? And would it not make a healthier herd?” he asked.

Commission wildlife veterinarian Justin Brown said answers to those questions are something “I’m not sure we know.”

What is clear, he said, is the potential for things to go the other way.

“The risk with moving and translocating animals at this point is probably about as high as you could get,” Brown said.

That’s mainly because of diseases like CWD (chronic wasting disease) or tuberculosis.

Testing of more than 100 elk this winter found no evidence of CWD in Pennsylvania’s herd. There aren’t many such herds left where anyone could “feel too comfortable” about getting healthy animals, though, Brown said.

Hoover asked about the chances of using artificial insemination from a wild bull that tested “clean.”

There would be disease concerns there, too, Brown said, given the “imperfect diagnostics” scientists work with. The other question would be practicality.

“I think if you’re talking about artificial insemination from wild elk, there is a whole other set of questions of feasibility and whether you could even pull that off,” he said.

Before doing anything, he suggested the commission first identify its goals in regards to elk. Does it want genetic diversity, more elk in more places or something else?

Even then, Brown said, any experimentation should be limited rather than in the elk herd at large.

Commissioners seem interested in at least exploring options.

“I think it’s just an important thing we take a look at,” Hoover said. “The elk herd is so important to that center section of the state that should disease or something affect the herd, we could run into some really serious issues in a hurry.”

Brown just urged caution. There are pros and cons to all wildlife management, he said.

“Obviously we’ve got lots of examples throughout our history of management that was well intentioned but backfired. So I think, particularly with cervids in this atmosphere, there are some significant issues to consider,” he said.

“And we’d have to think about those before we went ahead.”

https://archive.triblive.com/sports/...nias-elk-herd/
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 03:27 PM
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I have put in for an PA elk tag from the very beginning. I know I may never draw that tag. I am at maxed points and hope to get any tag before I cant hunt anymore. I really hope CWD never hits the elk herd and wipes out a herd that has been here since early 1900's. Hard to believe this elk herd has been here this long. This herd is historical and be protected all it can. We in PA have some of the biggest elk in this country. In my opinion the reason we have so many non typical elk is because they are so inbred as far as genes. I would love to see some new strain elk brought in to help out with new genetics. This same herd has been here and lived for close to if not over 100 years. All these elk are related to each other and need some new blood. It would be a true disaster if CWD ever took out a historic population of true wild PA elk.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 04:38 PM
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There has been some talk about introducing some new genes into the pool. That has to be done with extreme caution because of CWD in other states. The PGC has killed two elk that wandered into a CWD zone. I am sure that the reason for the season for taking elk outside of the Elk zones after the elk zones season closes, for anyone with an unfilled tag for any zone is because of the threat of CWD. Just one more reason not to take CWD lightly as some here are doing.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 08:53 PM
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CWD is real close to the herd. i would guess that the PGC is already on this and my guess is the deer in that area are going to become almost non existent if it gets even a mile closer. they wont let that herd get CWD if they can help it.


if the Elk do get CWD, then what....eradicate the Elk ? How ? sell permits until they are gone ? or just watch and monitor the herd ?


the only real first step is to shut down every deer farm operation in the Elk range.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 09:01 PM
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CWD has been around since the 60's. The only big kills have been from the game departments. The elk and deer will be fine.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bohunr View Post
CWD is real close to the herd. i would guess that the PGC is already on this and my guess is the deer in that area are going to become almost non existent if it gets even a mile closer. they wont let that herd get CWD if they can help it.


if the Elk do get CWD, then what....eradicate the Elk ? How ? sell permits until they are gone ? or just watch and monitor the herd ?


the only real first step is to shut down every deer farm operation in the Elk range.
Sharpshooters of course. Reduce the herd by half like they want to do to the deer in the cwd areas.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 09:31 PM
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Sharpshooters of course. Reduce the herd by half like they want to do to the deer in the cwd areas.
How does reducing the herd by half stop the CWD, if the other half of the herd still has it?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 09:36 PM
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i want a job with the USDA as a sharp shooter. how does a person apply for that position ?
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